Posted by: livingscripture | March 14, 2011

First Monday of Lent

From the Word of the Day 

You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.  Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

                 Leviticus 19: 17-19                                                              

How should we live this Word 

The most excellent commandment among those given to Moses (and that Jesus did not abrogate) is the prohibition to kill one’s neighbor.  In this passage, we go to the root of the evil that is always in the heart’s depths.  Even the verb ‘bear’ is expressive of an accepted attitude, one that is desired deeply by the person, where we decide our identity as God’s friends or as His enemies. 

We need to distinguish well in order to avoid feelings that are destructive, especially of our peace.  I may experience thoughts and feelings of hatred toward those who have made me suffer.  But this does not stop me from doing what God wants of me; that I love my neighbor as myself.  The spiritual masters say it is one thing to feel and another to consent.  If I feel hatred toward someone but for the love of God I forgive and treat him/her as any other person, I do not sin.  But this interior situation that makes me suffer, if offered to God in prayer and united to the infinite value of the sacrifice of Jesus crucified, it becomes the occasion of my spiritual growth and my growth in love.

Reproving openly someone who sins is an act of courage and charity but it must be done respectfully and humbly and be free of all presumption. 

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will remain in humble listening and I will pray:                                                                                                      

Lord, my Sun of justice, illumine my heart so that I may love in truth the way You want me to love.

The voice of Bishop Anthony Riboldi 

Love is to be offered on tip toe, with delicacy, to leave room for it to be accepted or refused.  True love is marvellous and engaging!

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